Colorado’s COVID-19 hospitalizations increase ahead of Thanksgiving holiday

The number of people hospitalized with the novel coronavirus Wednesday in Colorado increased by 39 patients from the day before, with 1,652 people now being treated for the disease, according to the state health department.

The Department of Public Health and Environment reported 3,503 new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus on Wednesday. That’s up from 3,161 new cases the day before.

The percentage of tests coming back positive over the past seven days is 11.45%. The high positivity — well above the recommended 5% threshold — means transmission of the disease is increasing and that the rise in new cases is not simply due to more testing.

Staffing continues to be a challenge for hospitals as 36% of facilities anticipate a shortage in employees in the next week, according to the health department.

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Public health officials are also concerned that Thanksgiving gatherings could also drive up infections over the holiday. On Wednesday, the Department of Public Health and Environment issued an open letter once again urging Coloradans to cancel Thanksgiving gatherings with people outside their household, to wear a mask when they do go out and stay at least six feet from others.

“This year, we have seen cases surge after most major holidays,” the health department wrote in the letter, adding, “What we do in the coming days and weeks could save our lives and the lives of others. This is not an exaggeration and we are thankful in advance for your consideration of each other this holiday season.”

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